Playing on a travel softball team in exposure (showcase) tournaments is a challenging endeavor. There’s a lot of practice, typically year round, and other time consuming tasks like contacting college coaches, going to camps, etc.. Those who retain the love of the game throughout this process put in the time and effort in the hopes that college coaches they’ve been communicating with will come to watch them play.
Sometimes the stars seemingly must align to have success with this. There are times when a coach may only be able to attend a player’s games at one tournament of the summer. And sometimes they can only attend one game or day of the tournament. It’s like, “No pressure young lady. The coach is watching you right now and this will be the only time she gets to do so.”
I’m writing this article today, because of what I experienced a week ago at one of my 16u team’s tourneys. A coach had already seen one of my players play in an earlier tourney. She had also recently visited the school and loved it. She is one of two catchers on my team. I typically rotate them each game. Other games they will split time.
During this tourney they were rotating every other game. However, the coach interested in the player had sent one of his players to the tourney to watch her play. She would report back to the coach later. It was the other catchers turn to play, but she approached me privately and asked me to play her teammate, because she was being watched and she really wants to attend the college. I was at a loss for words, which does not happen often.
My team this year has really been fun to coach. They get along well with and support each other, there’s no drama and have overcome some key injuries (to pitchers) to have a successful season. That said, they have to compete with each other for playing time in bracket play, where only 9 players are in the line-up on a team with 13 players. Both catchers also compete for time in bracket play. So when she came up to me and asked me to put the other catcher behind the plate…..well I did….and the more I thought about it, it honestly choked me up a bit.
Coaches of team sports are constantly stressing the importance of the TEAM. I’ve never seen a better example of being a TEAM player in my entire life. Nor will I ever forget it. Would your daughter or player do the same for her teammate?